Many important things came from the welcoming keynote this morning at the inaugural #BCTECHSummit held at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Key among them was BC Premier Christy Clark, hitting note after note regarding her government’s plan to bolster the booming Tech Industry here in British Columbia. To plenty of applause.
From my chair, it was unclear if the Premier was standing on-stage throwing lip-service to the leaders of BC Tech sitting in front of her. Or, if the flavour of genuine interest I gathered from the way she spoke about the need for this industry to succeed, came from the heart. Either way, the plans Clark and her government are putting in place across the entire province will cement BC and Vancouver as a hub for innovation in technology for years to come.
All things tech. Energy, Biology, Medicine, Entertainment, and Living tech that will bound forth from our province, with help from the government sets us apart from most province’s, and a lot of Countries.
Clark spoke of four things that help the Tech Industry thrive in British Columbia. Or any place for that matter. One of those four we do well already on our own. The other three are pillars Clark wants to facilitate through legislation.
Some of these points may even be standing ovation worthy.
1. Money. Clark mentioned the new 100 million dollar VC tech fund put into place to help support start-up companies looking to secure funding in order to get off the ground.
She also made note that we (BC residents/businesses) have one of the lowest corporate tax rates, that we spent 45 Billion dollars in the tech industry last year, and that she plans to keep our wages 60% higher than the industry average.
2. Talent. What nearly brought the house down—as it was made clear that most of the people in the room had avoided finding out about this earlier—was that starting this fall, all K-12 grade-school students will have the opportunity to learn code. Eventually, the plan is to make this part of the mandatory curriculum in BC as a whole.
Clark also noted that there is a plan to make it so that all tech post-secondary programs will require 100% of students to participate in a co-op program during their education.
3. New Markets. Though we want to curate our own unique, high-quality talent here in BC, Clark said that she (the royal she) knows that at times, the industry has to reach out beyond our borders to acquire the best of the world’s talent. Through innovations in programs, Clark spoke of the Developer Exchange, a place to connect the government with tech companies where those in the industry can express issues with the immigration/sponsorship process to ensure that the direction the program takes is in the best interest of those who use it.
It is clear that both the industry, and the province of British Columbia are looking to the future, and ensure the growth of the Tech Industry in BC isn’t slowed or halted. Rather, it seems that Tech is a beautiful hat, that the government is willing to throw a large percent of their funding into.
Also a part of BC Tech Summit is Techfest by Techvibes, which takes place tomorrow evening.